EVENT: shingi-rai spins jazz every Monday from 7-10 pm and Friday from 7-9 pm at Nation.
You've told me you "want to make people cry" during your set. Are you for real? "That's correct, I want to make people cry; I play a lot of sentimental jazz. Solo piano records recorded by Bill Evans, Duke Ellington, and Earl Garner, for example, are stunning, as is all jazz. It is sensitive in many ways, furious at times, it is emotional music... I have seen a few cats tear up during my set. I intend to help unleash the sensitive side in all of us. Life is stressful, and going out for a drink can be stressful too. I play music that chills you out. I want people to relax and soak in the beauty."
Really [someone cried]? What song did he or she cry to? "The song was by John Coltrane and Duke Ellington, 'In a Sentimental Mood.' A man in his late 30s appeared to be touched by the tune--either that or he had just been dumped."
Have you ever cried during a jazz song? Tell the truth. "No, but I always try to."
Do you play any jazz written after 1965? "I have very few records newer than 1965; personally, it marks the end of an era of jazz that I appreciate more than the later stuff. I will go as far as when Miles Davis went electric (Bitches Brew, etc.); and this is also the year that John Coltrane died, a time when jazz artists were still quite experimental but not quite going for electric instruments. It is a matter of personal taste, really. It is not less creative or anything, to me it just doesn't have that organic feel that, say, a horn, piano, stand-up bass, and drums have together."
You make hiphop beats too--where or how do jazz and hiphop overlap the best? "Yes, I make hiphop beats. I am working on a project with my crew, LoopSkolars; most of our pieces are influenced by jazz. Especially jazz piano and stand-up bass. I will start playing some of our stuff at the end of my sets at Nation. Back to your question, I feel that everything in jazz overlaps with hiphop--most importantly, improvisation, pushing the envelope."